Art has changed people’s minds, shifted public opinions and made history. We’re talking with three artists who have done that.
The Chicano Movement, known as “El Movimiento,”was a major effort in the 1960s and 1970s to extend Mexican-American civil rights and empowerment. A major component of El Movimiento was the artists. They didn’t just paint murals and draw portraits of Cesar Chavez and Che Guevara, they created a socio-political movement that highlighted the plight of Mexicans in the U.S.. Their work gave birth to a Chicano world view and generated a cultural renaissance, particularly here in California
“Alta California” was a major canvas for the artists of El Movimiento. The famous murals in San Francisco’s Mission District and in Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights. The creation of art collectives like the Mexican-American Liberation Art Front in Oakland, Mujeres Muralistas in San Francisco, and the Royal Chicano Air Force in Sacramento. Cultural centers like Galeria de la Raza in the Mission and Chicano Park in San Diego. In today’s politically-charged times, with DACA and ICE raids and National Guard troops summoned to the border and gentrification impacting Chicanx/Latinx neighborhoods (Galeria de la Raza lost the lease in the Mission building it’s lived in for over 30 years), El Movimiento is getting a second wind, with artists again expressing current events with paint, pencil, poetry and song.
Cinco de Mayo is coming up, and we’re going to celebrate by honoring El Movimiento. We’re talking with three major artists who made that movement happen here in California. They have painted famous murals, started art collectives, taught art to at-risk youth, college students and prison inmates, and have inspired a new generation of activist artists in California.
* Juana Alicia, artist, former field organizer for the United Farm Workers Union, founder of the True Colors Mural Project at Berkeley City College, and one of the authors of the MAESTRAPEACE murals on the San Francisco Women’s Building. Her latest mural is THE SPILL/EL DERRAME, in Berkeley.
* Malaquias Montoya, founder of the Mexican-American Liberation Art Front and UC Davis professor, teaching both in the department of Art and the department of Chicana/o Studies.
* Esteban Villa, founding member of the Royal Chicano Air Force, Professor Emeritus at California State University in Sacramento and still-active artist (his latest work with the RCAF is on display at the Golden 1 Center Tickets are $10. Purchase them on our Eventbrite page.